Sony has done a great deal to improve the audio capabilities of handheld computers. And most of their current handhelds have a built-in FM synth audio chip that allows our software to play more elaborate polyphonic multi-timbral sound. That means you can hear multiple notes/tracks simultaneously and played on different instrument sounds (like guitar or piano or drums or violin).
However, there are some Sony handhelds that do not have this audio chip, and there are some Sony handhelds that have a different chip that only alows them to playback pre-recorded MP3 or ATRAC files that our software CANNOT use to create music on the handheld itself; instead you must import existing music from your desktop.
The best way for you to know if you have the correct sound chip is to download one of our free demos (especially NotePad or BeatPad) and try it out. The current demos will check for the sound chip when they are first installed, but you might also try openning the application's preferences window (choose "Preferences" from either NotePad's or BeatPad's 'Options' menu) and set "Play To: Sound Card". If your handheld does not have the correct chip built-in then the software will automatically revert back to "Play To: Speaker" when it tries to play.
If you are shopping for a handheld, check to see if the Clie includes Sony software called the "Sound Utility". Also, every model of Sony Clie has one or two letters at the beginning of the product number. The chip is built into all Clies that start with T, NR, NX, NZ and TG. Other models, like the N-series or SJ-series, do not have the enhanced sound chip.
Although Sony does not sell Serial HotSync Cradles or Cables for the Clie, several other companies do. You cannot connect to MIDI hardware (electronic music instruments like samplers, keyboards, synthesizers, etc.) using the USB cradles that come with the Clie, so you will need to buy a serial cradle or cable seperately. We have not yet been able to test every Clie model with every serial cable with every electronic music product, so there is no way to guarentee any particular product will be compatible. We have tested some models that would work with a direct serial connection to MIDI hardware but would not work when connected using our Palm-to-MIDI interface. We are constantly trying out the new devices from Sony and will try to update this page with any known problems or solutions.
See our MIDI page for more details about the ways to connect Palm Powered handhelds to electronic music instruments.